During the April recess Prof Derick Blaauw was part of a multidisciplinary research team doing fieldwork in Cape Town as part of a national study of day labouring in South Africa.
The team consisting of Derick and Professor Rinie Schenck of the Department of Social Work at the University of the Western Cape met the 11 fieldworkers on Monday 3 April 2017 at the UWC Campus for a day of fieldworker training. The fieldworkers were all recruited from graduates of the University of the Western Cape’s Social Work Department. The fieldworkers were carefully selected to accommodate all the languages expected to be encountered on the streets of the Mother City. The training was preceded by two weeks of recognizance by Prof Schenck and Ms Iris Brown to confirm existing and identifying possible new hiring sites. The next step was to execute the operation. Two kombis was used as transport and the team met up at the UWC Campus on Tuesday 4 March. What followed was six days of early mornings (getting up at five o’clock) and long hours on the streets interviewing day labourers trying to make a living from informal employment. The fieldwork went well and 450 interviews were conducted. The fieldworkers were debriefed and valuable time was spent reflecting on the shared experiences of the fieldworkers. This type of research does not leave anybody untouched.
UJ’s Department of Economics and Econometrics held their annual prize giving function on Friday 31 March 2017. At the function Anmar Pretorius received an award as the first placed PhD student from all students graduating in the department in 2016. In the photograph Anmar is joined by colleagues from UJ: Prof Joel Hinaunye Eita and Dr Kwame Osei-Assibey. The function took place at the Johannesburg Country Club with Dr Melanie van Rooy, Marketing director of Makro SA, as the guest speaker. Her presentation offered very interesting insights into the analysis and use of big data in planning marketing strategies.
The first quarter of 2017 was also a big one for students in the School of Economics. The highlights include:
- Greg Foggit presented his research at the SAFA conference. Since the post in January, Greg has obtained his PhD!
- Mosima Ngwenya did us proud at the Nedbank/Old Mutual Budget Speech competition. Since then she has also been awarded an ERSA scholarship for the Master’s degree studies.
Proff Henri Bezuidenhout and Sonja Grater took the International Trade honours group to Pick ‘n Pay’s distribution centre in Modderfontein, Johannesburg. The aim was to see large-scale and sophisticated logistics and supply chain management up close. This is the biggest centre in the country and supplies to the northern provinces, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.
These two lecturers are again running their industry buddy programme this year and all three honours groups have written the Gallup Strengths Finder test and have received a coaching session on how to use those strengths.
In this first quarter of the year the staff of the School of Economics were involved in two big events. The first is the Faculty’s new Economic Literacy Centre.
The Literacy Centre is the brainchild of Prof Ermie Steenkamp who was inspired by a visit to a NCEE facility in Mexico a number of years ago. The idea was create a space where learners visiting campus can be introduced to the economic and management sciences. There is a “movie theater” with big screens showing the latest economic indicators. There are interactive electronic games in which a learner can allocate the family’s budget. Another shows the power of compound interest and the benefits of starting to save early. Visitors also have the opportunity to play a card game and learn about the R1-man. If we can get more learners to study maths at school, and more of them to consider the economic and management sciences, we will be very happy!
The second major event was the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa’s Tomlinson lecture.
This prestigious memorial lecture was co-hosted by the School’s agricultural economists, lead by Dr Ernst Idsardi and those from UFS (Dr Flippie Cloete).
Dr Kobus Laubscher presented the lecture on the theme: “Relevance versus indispensable in making the long-term urgent – Agricultural Economists can choose to shift the responsibility or to shift the paradigm”. Dr Laubscher is an independent Agricultural Economist and Strategist with 27 years as an agricultural economics academic. He is an expert in several fields such as rural development, business process re-engineering and corporate governance.
The event was attended by the leadership of the AEASA, academics and representatives of industry and government.